“They promised me nine years of safety but only gave me three.
Today my time has run out.
I sit on the curb at the back of the parking lot near the Dumpster. The waste from the condo complex bakes in this cumbersome green kiln and the stench is shocking, heavy with rancid grease and sickly-sweet decay.”
Meredith has spent the past three years trying to forget about the terrible things her father did to her. He’s in prison and she is safe. Her mother blames her, still goes to see her father at the prison and stands by him, but Meredith can’t do that. Not since he touched her, not since the things he did to her. But now Meredith is going to have to face him because despite being sentenced to nine years, Meredith’s dad is on his way home, and her mum wants them to be one big happy family again.
Let me start this review by holding my hands up and saying this book is not something I would usually read. It is one of those that fit into the so called ‘mis-lit’ genre that swept the supermarkets a couple of years ago and was loaned to me by a friend who thought I would like it… and I did, kinda, as much as you can like a book about rape and misery.
The story is horrific. I kept thinking ‘why is this allowed to happen? Why isn’t Meredith’s mum being more supportive?’ Basically Meredith’s dad abused her and others and went to prison but now hes coming home, there are things about him not being allowed to stay in the room on his own with Meredith and not being able to sleep in their condo. things that Meredith’s mum just ignores a lot which is ridiculous. The whole idea of him being allowed that close to Meredith sickened me but more so because as a reader I could see into Meredith’s mind and see what it was doing to her.
The book has got some plus points, the story is gripping and you need to know who things are going to be resolved, even though the events are horrendous. The characters are some of the other plus points because thankfully Meredith does have a good support network, even if she doubts them sometimes. I really liked Nigel and Andy and his mum even though I didn’t really understand what his mum’s plan was.
Other characters really got under my skin, especially Meredith’s dad, he was such a good actor it was scary and I could see the manipulation he could carry out on anyone if they let him and it was awful. The reactions from Meredith were the worst though cos they made him seam all the more real. Her mum had to be my least liked character though, to be so blind and purposely ignorant was ridiculous and she made me laugh out loud in places. It was scary though because the way she was written, I could really believe she was real and that some people would actually react in this way.
Like I said, Such a Pretty Girl was not my normal kind of read, but I did enjoy it for what it was. I didn’t think much of the writing but the characterisation was good. I will probably recommend this one to my mum as I know she loves these kinds of books but they are definitely not for me unfortunately. If you enjoy reading about suffering and thrillers like this then you probably will enjoy it.
Such a Pretty Girl was published in August 2007 by Pocket Books. My copy was loaned to me by a friend.
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